Thirty years ago, Greece joined the European Union. Fifteen years ago, at a science-fiction convention in Chicago, I was staying in a huge flat near the Loop which had been turned into a kind of dormitory for all three of the flatmate’s SFnal friends: I was the only Brit in the mix, and indeed the only European. A woman I knew came into the main living room and asked the room generally “Who on EARTH has Greek toothpaste?”
I waved my hand. (My toothpaste in fact had writing on the tube in all the languages of the European Union, but the Greek lettering was the most conspicuous.) Everyone looked at me.
“Why do you have Greek toothpaste?” she asked me.
“I am a citizen of Europe,” I told her happily, and that silenced all the North Americans in the room.
I have been seeing cheerful headlines around the news quite a lot, declaring that the Greek Parliament’s vote to accept the bailout means the “long nightmare is over”, that Greece is “rescued” at last. This is nonsense.